Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance's expansive space is a patchwork of tumbling mats, balance beams, uneven bars, and other equipment. It's amidst this colorful collage that kids lay a foundation for lifelong fitness and future sports such as basketball, or basketball with backflips. Students are guided by a knowledgeable team of instructors headed by Executive Director Bryan Kiser, who has more than 25 years of experience with the Men's Junior Olympic gymnastics program, and Mei, the women's coach, whose more than three decades of gymnastics experience includes time as a competitor with the Chinese national gymnastics team. The staff splits kids up by age and skill level for recreational gymnastics, and those who decide to pursue their flips and tumbles more seriously can transition into Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance's competitive program.
In addition to gymnastics, the staff teaches karate, dance, and cheerleading lessons. Seasoned instructor Bonita Jennings builds coordination and grace, transforming the pitter-patter of little feet into the structured patterns of dance styles such as tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. When classes aren't in session, Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance hosts birthday parties with activities such as rock-wall climbing and ziplining.
UNITED Tae Kwon Do's group classes aren't really about punching and kicking. Sure, students work to master self-defense techniques, but they also focus on topics such as confidence and respect. The conditioning and reaction drills also help to build lean muscle and serve as an effective form of stress management. In this way, UNITED Tae Kwon Do's sessions benefit all types of students, whether they're kids or adults, beginners or more seasoned martial artists. The trained instructors also teach private lessons that adhere to personal goals, such as preparing a student for an upcoming black belt test.
These programs didn't develop overnight. UNITED Tae Kwon Do has been honing them for more than three decades, long before martial-arts uniforms became a red-carpet fashion trend. The educators have expanded into multiple locations throughout the Houston area and show no signs of stopping.
The grueling, seven-hour krav maga black-belt test has an average pass rate of 50%?that is, at least, unless you?ve trained at Krav Maga & CrossFit North Houston, which boasts an untrammeled pass rate of 100%. Such impressive pass rates are made possible by 2nd Dan black belt, C.J. Kirk, who helms a vetted and experienced team of instructors that teaches the Israeli fighting system to amateurs, military personnel, and law enforcement officers. Classes educate pupils on all aspects of the discipline, including how to respond to stress, act on instinct, and execute textbook strikes and blocks. To accommodate all levels, the center offers flexible class times as well as time slots dedicated to childrens? fitness and fighting classes.
Dakao Do, Sword to Sword’s instructor, protects the secrets of ancient, historical European martial-art forms that date back to the early 1300s. Specializing in the longsword, sword and buckler, and dussack, he wields these weapons to show newbies how to safely and respectfully honor historical fighting systems. Though he mainly focuses on Germanic swordsmanship, Dakao also leads programs that explore other fighting methods such as grappling, dagger, rapier, and saber.
The head instructor of Gracie Barra The Woodlands, Alex Gotay, has earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's a milestone that requires talent, of course, and a significant chunk of time—more than ten years, to be exact. Alex and the Gracie Barra team lead students down this path with a four-month fundamentals program, where they learn the principles of effective fighting. Students then enter an eight-month advanced program followed by a capstone black belt program, which draws on elements of MMA and other fighting styles.
The center doesn't just train aspiring black belts, however; many students use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes as a way to keep fit. The center offers 50+ classes per week in this and other fighting and fitness styles. Muay Thai classes, for example, follow no skill sequence—instead, they help students of all levels avoid the classic pitfall of kicking with both legs at once.